To mark 30 years of cricket on Sky Sports, the former England batsmen have picked two world XIs from players that graced that period to do battle in a simulated game. Hussain has selected his side from the first 15 years, which coincided with his playing career, leaving Key to pick from the most recent 15 years.
Notably, neither Rahul Dravid or Alastair Cook makes either side. The pair are the fourth and fifth highest Test run scorers of all time.
Other notable omissions are Anil Kumble, who is the third highest wicket taker (619) in Tests, Shivnarine Chanderpaul who scored 11867 runs at an average of 51.37 (ranked 8th in the Test run scorers list) and Steve Waugh who scored 10927 runs at an average of 51.06.
The Proteas are represented by Graeme Smith, who captains Key’s side, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers. De Villiers is selected to keep wicket in Key’s side. He has done so in 24 Tests for the Proteas and averages 57 when taking the gloves.
Key went for Steyn over countryman Stuart Broad, who has taken 46 wickets more in 45 more Tests. Steyn, however, was considered far more dangerous. His strike rate of 42.3 is better than any bowler in history who has taken at least 200 wickets.
Kallis bats at No.6 in Hussain’s team, which features a bowling attack boasting three of the Test cricket’s top five bowlers.
Key’s batting lineup has a devastating look about it though, with some of the game’s most exciting batters populating his line-up.
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Rob Key’s XI
Graeme Smith (c)
AB de Villiers (w/k)
Nasser Hussain’s XI
Ricky Ponting (c)
Adam Gilchrist (w/k)